Trump pick for FBI director pledges support for Russia probe

Christopher Wray says he would quit the role if asked to do anything illegal

Trump pick for FBI director pledges support for Russia probe

Christopher Wray, FBI Director nominee, addresses the Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearing, 12-07-2017. Image: Christy Bowe/Globe/ZUMA Wire

Donald Trump's pick to be the new head of the FBI has insisted he would refuse to pledge loyalty to the president if asked to do so.

Christopher Wray has been appearing before a Senate hearing after being nominated to succeed fired former FBI director, James Comey.

He has also disagreed with Mr Trump about the nature of the investigation into his administration's links with Russia – stating that he does not view it as a “witch hunt.”

Mr Wray, nominated by President Trump on June 7th, vowed he would quit the role if ever asked by the president to do anything unlawful.

He went as far as to say it would be “highly unlikely” that he would even agree to meet with President Trump in a one-on-one situation – something his predecessor did.

Donald Trump Jr emails

The four-and-a-half hour Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing comes amid continuing controversy over the emails released by Donald Trump Jr on Tuesday.

The email chain details how the President’s son agreed to meet a women he believed was a Russian government lawyer in the hope that she could provide damaging information regarding Hillary Clinton.

Mr Trump Jr was told the lawyer had “very high level and sensitive information” that was being provided as “part of Russia and its government’s support” for his father.

The 39-year-old businessman has said the meeting was “literally just a wasted 20 minutes" and insisted he never told his father about it.

He admitted however that “in retrospect I probably would have done things a little differently.”

Potential treason

Mrs Clinton’s former running mate Tim Kaine was one of a number of leading figures to come out and suggest the meeting may have been tantamount to treason – a claim the White House has been quick to rubbish.

A spokesperson for the president labelled the claims “ridiculous” adding that the president is "frustrated" Russia continues to be an issue and would love to move on.

This afternoon the president tweeted his support for his son saying he had been "open, transparent and innocent" and hitting out at what he called the "greatest witch hunt in political history."

At the confirmation hearing today, Mr Wray said he had not seen the emails – but warned that: "Any threats or effort to interfere with our election from any nation-state or any non-state actor is the kind of thing the FBI would want to know."

Trump Jr son did not notify the FBI, writing "If it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer."

Russia probe

The Justice Department named Robert Mueller to serve as special counsel to investigate alleged Russian interference in the election eight days after the President fired former director Comey.

Mr Wray said he had no reason to doubt the US intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia had interfered in the election – in part by hacking and releasing emails damaging to Mrs Clinton.

He said he is "very committed" to supporting Mr Mueller’s investigation and pledged to inform the committee if he ever became aware of any attempt to “tamper with” the inquiry.